Esks’ Ray ready to play

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:25 PM ET

They say practice makes perfect, but after sitting on the sidelines for the entire week, Ricky Ray will settle for just being healthy enough to play Saturday.

The Edmonton Eskimos quarterback took a helmet-to-helmet hit from B.C. Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian last week, while rushing for a career-high 135 yards and the winning touchdown in overtime.

The CFL announced Friday that Elimimian has been fined an undisclosed amount for the illegal hit, which was just one of many bumps Ray took in paying the price for victory.

“Every game is a little bit different whether you take a different hit or whatever,” Ray said. “You’ve just got to manage what you have. Nobody’s feeling good at this point, it’s just all about managing it and hopefully being ready to play.”

Despite sitting out the past three days, Ray will be under centre against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“I don’t see any reason why he would be (limited),” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “He knows everything that’s going to be asked of him. It’s not a limit of what you can do, it’s just a matter of how sore you’re going to be.

“He’s not going to be pain-free, no different than any other player at this point in the season.”

While the Eskimos aren’t relying on him to have another 100-yard rushing game, Ray must be ready for anything.

“If we have the opportunity for Ricky to run with the football, then we run with the football,” said Hall. “The thing we have to do is make smart decisions and don’t take unnecessary hits.”

Ray has taken the advice to heart.

“I’ll definitely do a little bit more sliding,” he said. “That’s obviously the thing that you’ve got to be smart with at quarterback, when to take you chances and when there’s not point in taking a chance.

“All it takes is one hit that can really do some damage.”

But the Roughriders aren’t taking anything for granted when it comes to the Eskimos quarterback, regardless of his physical status.

“If he were running around, that would be an element we’d have to control,” said Roughriders head coach Ken Miller. “Ricky’s greatest danger is throwing the ball, and he does it well.

“We want to make sure that we’re containing him if he does break out of the pocket like he did against B.C., even though he’s not as healthy as he was last week.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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